L.A. wage plan stays hot issue

first_imgThe council is scheduled to receive the measure today and could act immediately, although consideration was expected to be put off until next week. Councilmen Greig Smith and Dennis Zine, the leading opponents of the original ordinance, said they were studying the latest proposal and had no immediate comment. The ordinance requires the hotels to increase workers’ pay to $9.39 an hour with health insurance, or $10.64 an hour without health benefits. It calls for a study after one year to determine the impact on the hotels and workers. Few of city government’s promises outlined in the measure carry price tags. Other proposed improvements – in particular the development of a conference center, possible reduced taxes, remote check-in facilities for Los Angeles International Airport and reduced power rates – all are subject to future study. Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who had been the main supporter of the earlier living-wage proposal, said she believes the new plan represents a significant shift by the city. “It is substantially different,” Hahn said. “While it does keep the living wage, it increases our commitment to investment in the infrastructure for the economic benefit of that region. “Living wage for these workers is not something we were prepared to back down on. With all we are doing at the airport, this area is getting some major economic benefits – more than any other part of the city.” LAX is undergoing modernization expected ultimately to cost $4 billion, and city officials tied that work to the requirement that the hotels increase their pay for workers. ‘Dropped this on us’ But the move has drawn opposition from a broad coalition of businesses, whose spending topped $800,000 to collect more than 103,000 signatures to force the council to back down on the original measure or put a referendum on the ballot. Englander said business leaders had hoped there would be more time to negotiate the new plan. “And they dropped this on us the day before the council will take it up,” he said. David Fleming, chairman of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said he is hopeful that a compromise can be worked out in the coming days. “The city is trying to make the case the hotels will be better off in the long run by increasing business to them,” Fleming said. “I know the hotels want to renegotiate everything. I think we need some time to take a fresh look at all of this.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390 Airport zone incentives Identify financing options and sites for a new conference center within six months. $1 million in street improvements. $50,000 for a study on attracting new business to the LAX-area zone. Implement a work-force training program and coordinate courses in English as a Second Language for hotel workers. Develop a marketing program for area hotels and services. Possible tax reductions for businesses that relocate from outside the city and retail and restaurants that expand in the zone. New signs directing drivers to hotels and airport-related services. Expedited street resurfacing and sidewalk repair.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The area around Los Angeles International Airport would get an infusion of taxpayer investment and incentives for business under a new “living-wage” measure released Thursday. The proposal comes just one week after an 11th-hour deal in which the council – facing a costly May election fight with a united business community – repealed the original living-wage ordinance imposed on Century Boulevard hotels. But the new measure has only minor modifications from the original and drew an immediate outcry from the business community. “This has some bells and whistles, but no significant changes,” said Harvey Englander, spokesman for the Century Corridor hotels that fought the earlier plan. Outraged by the council’s extension of the law beyond firms under contract with city agencies, business leaders had planned to put the issue on the ballot in May. “While the council did rescind their last ordinance, which avoided the referendum, they are coming back with essentially the same ordinance with no further discussions with us,” Englander said. “We were hoping the city would be open to having some discussions with us. But there hasn’t been one talk held.” Carrots with stick The new measure would require the dozen area hotels to phase in the higher wages for most of their 3,500 workers. But it also promises $1 million for street improvements, $50,000 for marketing for the area – which would be designated as an airport hospitality enhancement zone – and studies into a possible conference center and business tax reductions. The measure was prepared by City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s staff under terms outlined by Thomas Saenz, legal adviser to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, officials said. last_img read more

A mini breakup

first_imgLEGISLATION to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District may be on life support in Sacramento, but the yearning for independence is alive and well within the district. In the southeast portion of the LAUSD, six small cities Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate and Vernon are pushing for autonomy. They know better than to seek outright independence previous efforts at breakup have been quashed by the anti-education education establishment. So the cities have set their sights on something less ambitious: The power to name their own superintendent and have more say over budget and curriculum, but not the power to fire or hire teachers or interfere with labor deals. The vision falls short of the ideal of total independence, but it’s a big improvement over the status quo, which is to remain a cog in an enormous, bureaucratic machine. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has backed the effort, saying the LAUSD needs more local control. And it does, which is why breaking free from the behemoth would be good not just for six small cities in the southeast, but for all of the communities in the district. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more